Motorcycle Riding Position Detailed Guide

Editor@Throttle|Updated: February 19, 2018 10:50

It is crucial to maintain the proper riding position on your bike at all times. You also need to ensure there is as little tension possible on the muscles throughout your body. If you master the best motorcycle riding position possible, the whole process of gaining skills such as counter-steering should fall into place much more easily. It becomes easy to ride for long distance with saddle bags to carry luggage.

Motorcycle body position is more than just the balance and ability to stay straight on the track. Factors such as the motorcycle riding foot position and your ability to hang just right and relax throughout each ride are also crucial if your goal is to master sportbike riding techniques. Additionally, you need to master cornering to enter and exit each corner turn with utmost ease.
As you master your riding focus, it is also important to stay relaxed on a bike. To stay relaxed while riding, you can ultimately gain better control over the position of your bike. However, because most riders are naturally inclined to tense up while riding, relaxation on a bike can take a certain amount of effort to master. One step that can help is to adjust the positions of the brake and clutch levers, as well as the shifter and rear brake pedals. The point here is to adjust these parts of the bike so they best suit your comfort as a rider.
To ride a motorcycle, you're going to have to do some posturing. Riding postures are dictated by two main factors—the design of your bike and the build of your body—both of which can be modified, but only to a point. Sit on as many bikes as possible to find the right combination to fit your needs. You will find there are countless models to choose from, but there are really only three basic riding postures: standard, sport and cruiser.   
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What is a Standard Riding Posture?

This posture is called "standard" for a reason. Of the three riding postures, the standard position is the most neutral. The rider isn't angled forward or slung back in any way. The body is upright. Head and eyes are up, looking through the path of travel. For the hands to rest comfortably on the grips, the arms must be extended, but not hyperextended. There should be enough slack for elbows to remain relaxed and slightly bent. You should be able to "flap your wings" in this position. Knees should rest against the tank and be bent at a height that is slightly lower than the hips. The rider's feet should rest on the footpegs at a 90-degree angle, positioned almost directly below the knees.


As the rider sits up straight and high, this position allows for increased visibility. This generally means a higher seat height, which might cause problems for riders who have short legs and may have trouble putting both feet on the ground. Due to the upright body position, there may also be increased wind resistance. From the standard riding posture, riders can easily stand up on the pegs to surmount an obstacle. The standard position can also be sustained for long road trips or short commutes. In general, standard posture provides excellent access to all controls and is often preferred in most new rider courses. 


Many models employ standard riding posture, but a few examples are the BMW, Harley-Davidson, Buell and Honda. 





What is Sport Riding Posture?

Sport riding demands a forward lean. The rider's head is angled in front of the body, with the head and eyes looking through the path of travel. The upper body is angled in front of the hips. The stomach rests against the tank, while the back muscles and legs support the weight of the upper torso. The arms are relaxed and elbows bent. Knees are also bent and held against the tank, with feet resting on the footpegs in a position behind the knees.


Sport posture is an aerodynamically superior position resulting in the least amount of wind resistance for the rider. Riding performance, particularly in curves, may be enhanced. Without height, the ability to see far down the road is reduced, and the riding position is often cramped, which may be difficult to sustain for more than a couple of hours. 


There are many popular sportbikes that employ the sport riding position, including the Ducati, Yamaha, Kawasaki Ninja and Suzuki. 


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What is Cruiser Riding Posture?

Cruisers are slung low and back, giving the rider a relaxed look. The rider's body is slightly reclined, almost leaning back toward the rear of the motorcycle. As with all riding positions, the head and eyes are looking forward through the path of travel. Arms are more extended in this position than in others, but the elbows should still be bent. Due to the degree of the body's backward lean, some riders overextend to reach the handgrips, which may cause fatigue, shoulder pain and muscle stiffness. The knees should be bent and rest against the tank at almost the same height as the hips, and the feet should rest on the footpegs forward of the knees.


Cruising posture is popular, and understandably so, as the laid-back riding position allows greater extension of the legs. When cruising, the leg position can even be varied with the addition of accessory footpegs. With forward controls, however, the rider will find it difficult to stand on the pegs to cross an obstacle without pulling weight onto the handgrips. Lower seat heights, often found with this posture, provide comfortable flat footing.  Examples are Harley-Davidson's cruisers , Bajaj cruisers, Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki.   


Looking at the above motorcycle types, your body measurements will have a big influence on your back. Obviously your body mass (i.e. obesity) will play an enormous factor, but then it will in other aspects of your life.


If you are above average height, you will stoop, hunching your back and thereby creating pain. Raising your handlebars will alleviate that issue. If you are smaller than average, the problem will be different, but the area that will cause your back ache will be your feet. Obviously lower your handlebars (if possible) will help, but few bikes can do that. If your feet reach the ground properly (if they don’t, change your motorcycle), then see if you can raise your foot pegs. The objective is to straighten your back and keep it straight to avoid the unnecessary back pain.


How do Motorcycle Parts help in maintaining proper riding posture?


There are three parts to your motorcycle that can be adapted to make it easier on your back; handlebars, seat and foot pegs.


Proper Bar Grip


With your footpeg and seat placement pinned down, the grip that you place on the bars should be firm yet delicate, almost as if you were holding an egg without breaking it. Too tight of a grip will cause your muscles to tighten up, your hands to take the full brunt of the bar vibrations and often lead to uncomfortable blisters. Too light of a grip can cause a lack of responsive control. Finding your comfort zone between grip pressures will go a long way in keeping yourself upright. If you feel like you’re constantly over gripping, try squeezing a bit with your knees and relax your hands.

Throughout these steps, it is important to take things easy, because too much stress on your part can impact the balance of the bike. When you clamp the bars like vice grips, the bike is less likely to stay straight.


Seat Placement on A Motorcycle

The next important step is to stay situated at the front of the seat, close to the fuel tank. This will allow the bottom half of your body to stay firmly planted on the bike, because your weight will be directed at the front tire. In order to make this fully effective, keep your arms and back relaxed and naturally bent. That way, your body will be prepared to bear the effect of road bumps, and the overall impact of bumps will in turn be easier on the chassis. The whole point is to make your body work as part of the suspension, as opposed to as a part the frame.

Get comfortable sitting on your bike properly before hitting the road.


Ideal Foot & Foot peg contact


By maintaining contact between the ball of your foot and the footpeg, you will have an easier time shifting your body weight when necessary. The same would not be true if you place your heels on the footpegs as the following problems are liable to occur:

  • Your toes will point outward — this is common among many riders who use the heel-to-footpeg position.
  • Your quadriceps will elevate your rear from the seat as you transfer your body weight.

With the ball of your foot to the footpeg, you will be able to utilize the muscles in your calves while keeping your toes safely above the concrete.


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In addition to the above, there are some more things that need to be kept in mind.


Arm Position


The proper arm position for any bike involves having your elbows slightly bent and below the level of the handlebar, so that your forearm is parallel to the ground. This is the position in which you have the most control, and the least resistance, where the bars feel lightest and respond most accurately to your steering inputs.




You should be holding up your torso without putting any weight on the handlebars. It becomes really difficult to steer when you are holding onto the handlebars for support of your torso. Basically as explained, grab the tank with your thighs to free up your arms and have a straight back.


It is vital to have a good riding position as it offers a proper control of the bike. While maintaining the correct position you can maneuver the bike well and it becomes very flick-able! A true joy in every sense. Feel free to experiment with the above pointers in mind and realize your optimum position. Merge and become one with your ride!


Having kept these important pointers handy, motorcycling riding can be fun and easy on your body too!!